Why Cooking at Home Feeds More Than Your Belly
I married my high school sweetheart, Cody, in the fall of 2013. Not long after the wedding, we moved into a small rental on the Cherokee County line. At the time, Cody worked about an hour north in Jasper, and I worked about an hour south in Atlanta.
Every morning was a rush against traffic. We would run around, filling thermoses full of coffee and yelling at the dog to “hurry up and pee already,” before giving one another a quick kiss and scurrying off to our separate cars.
We pointed our vehicles in opposite directions and drove away from our 800-square-foot brown house. When our vehicles pulled into the driveway, each night at 6 p.m., we were grateful to be home.
Cody and I spent the majority of our time in the kitchen. He played the role of sous-chef as I doled out tasks for our dinner each night. He politely nodded along as I tried my hand at managing a kitchen (even if it was just the two of us cooking at home). I instructed him on how to properly ketchup a meatloaf, mash a potato, and country-fry a steak. Following dinner, at least once a week, we made dessert. Cookies, cobblers and eventually pies were added to our repertoire.
We thought that we were spending all of our time cooking together to have the joy of eating the finished product, but we didn’t realize that all of the time we spent cooking at home together did more than just fulfill our desire to eat good food.
When we opened our first business, our desire to cook and bake together at home was pushed aside. We stopped making dinner together, and instead opted for to-go burritos on the couch. Our tiny kitchen sat empty, and the heart of our home vanished without us even noticing.
It took time for us to realize what a gift it was for us to cook, bake or even wash dishes together. The kitchen provided us a place to laugh and have time for just the two of us. We originally believed it to be our haven from the stress of our jobs and our hour-long commutes. Little did we know at the time, cooking together at home was important to us because it taught us how to work together, it gave us confidence in decision making, and it created space for us to spend time doing something together.
Cody and I have since moved from that little brown house, and our kitchen at home has once again become our place. A few times a week, Cody and I will mix up a couple of cocktails, put on a record and make a meal together. He still plays the role of sous-chef, but now we have a dishwashing machine to help with the clean-up.
Sept. 25 is National Cooking Day, and although I do not know what I will be having for dinner that night, I do know who I will be making it with. I want to encourage you to grab your partner, your kids or even your pup, and spend some kitchen time together this week. Time spent together is the best time, and using the preparation of a shared meal to facilitate that time is a way to turn something that can sometimes be a chore into a time to laugh, share, and feed your belly and your soul.
– Lauren Bolden is a self-taught pie baker who has spent the past five years working to spread joy through pie. LaurenEBolden.com.